Immigration and Printing — Accountability Matters
ASK ANY person on the street how they feel about the topic of immigration reform, and you’ll likely receive an answer powered by emotion. That’s understandable, as any future legislation could have potentially damaging consequences for the 11 million to 12 million people living in this country without proper documentation.
The basic arguments from the proponent and opponent camps are fairly universal, somewhat flawed and routinely debated. There are those who are incensed by the notion that millions of illegals are leveraging the public services afforded American taxpayers: benefits such as unemployment, welfare, public school education and free healthcare for the very poor, to name a few.
Those who favor a more paved path to citizenship note that our country was founded and built by people who abandoned other nations in search of a better life, intrigued by the ideal of the impossible being attainable. Why should we cap the amount of people who enter our country when we’re supposed to be the globe’s melting pot?, they argue.
There is subtle and not-so-subtle racism involved here, as when the subject of illegal immigration is brought up, thoughts almost universally turn to Mexico. They account for a majority of the half-million people who arrive here annually, according to Gannett News Service. And, after all, no U.S. president has ever suggested constructing a fence along the Canadian border or apprehending boat refugees from the Great Lakes.
Obviously, many undocumented Mexican immigrants come to this country to escape knee-buckling poverty, take menial jobs upon arrival and toil for the restaurant, garment, hospitality, food processing, agriculture and construction industries, to name a few. Add another to the list: the printing industry.
To what degree the graphic arts industry relies on documented or illegal aliens is uncertain, as no statistics are available. The assumption is made that the figures are higher in the states bordering Mexico, and anecdotal evidence suggests that Hispanics account for anywhere between 50 and 70 percent of some workforces within those states. Certainly, the bulk of those people are already U.S. citizens.